March 24, 2009
Fastball Aces it
Fastball played their SXSW "Showcase" set at Aces Lounge last Wednesday (actually Thursday morning). Aces Lounge is a relatively new venue at the site of the former Hard Rock Cafe. It's a beautiful, spacious, stylish place with a fantastic sound system. The stage is located in a back corner of the place, elevated to the height of the bar. The bar is actually in front of the stage, which is pretty unique.
Fastball was slated to go on at 1:00 a.m. For the most part, SXSW shows run right on time; they have to in order to accommodate all the acts. The act before Fastball, however, ran a bit late, so the crew had to scramble to get things set up. Alan, the sound guy for Fastball, was scurrying around checking the mics, plugging in the guitars and trying to get the keyboard working. Unfortunately, after messing with the keyboard for about 10 minutes, they were unable to get any sound out of it, and they wound up ditching it. I was disappointed, as I really wanted to hear Tony on keyboards. Turns out I had nothing to feel disappointed about. The classic twin-guitar attack was perfect for the event and the crowd that had gathered.
The band finally went on at about 1:15. The place was pretty full, considering it was a weekday and the last show of the evening. The crowd was pumped up to hear Fastball, and reacted enthusiastically to the hits ("Out Of My Head," "Fire Escape" and, of course, "The Way"). As expected the setlist was heavy on material from the new record. The new songs were well received, especially "Little White Lies" and "Always Never."
It was a short but very well played set and the sound was great. The band was tight and the vocals were excellent. When it was over there was a good bit of buzz about Fastball and the new record among the audience. The merch table was also fairly busy. All in all it was a great way to close out the first official day of SXSW.